Late last month, the dean of the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas spoke out on some racial allegations against the Corinth Police Department. Dorothy Bland published an article on the Dallas Morning News stating that she was pulled over for "walking while black."
This accusation was taken very seriously (as it should have been); however, there is always a well defined line that no one should ever cross, especially a journalist. Bland was well within her right to talk and write about how she felt. No one can tell her she didn't feel like she was profiled; nevertheless, she crossed that line when she fabricated some information in her published story.
Last month Bland was walking in the middle of the street near her Corinth home. She was wearing a sweatshirt with a hood and athletic pants and was waving her arms doing her exercises for the day. A car pulled up behind her and nearly went to a complete stop before going around her. The police drove up and got out of their squad car and stared walking towards her. She turned around, saw them and started walking to meet them halfway. The dash cam video shows one of the officers telling her nicely that if she is going to walk in the middle of the street then she needs to walk on the opposite side going towards traffic. They assured her it was for her safety. The officer then asked for her identification. In the video she told the officers that she didn't have any because she was working out and could go get it if need be. The officer said she didn't need to but continued to call in which is normal protocol. At this point, Bland got really sassy and began taking pictures of the officers and the Texas license plate on the squad car. The officers did not issue any tickets and just warned her to stay on the other side of the street. They said it was considered impediment of traffic but mainly stopped her because it was a safety concern. After this happened, Bland went and posted on her Facebook claiming she was stopped for her color. She then wrote an article on the Dallas Morning News telling her version of the story and fabricating facts. On her article she claimed she was stopped for her color. In the video, there is no way to tell her color, she is wearing a sweatshirt with a hood and Nike running pants. In addition, she claimed that the officers never stated why they pulled her over which they did. Corinth PD responded immediately by releasing the dash cam video to the Dallas Morning News and the rest of the public.
I don't want to get into the issue of race. I strictly would just like to assess the situation and talk strictly based on facts. Whether she did feel profiled or not, that is not our place to say. Based on the fact that she lied on her article was unethical and possibly diminishes the fact that crimes like this does happen. However; in this case, it does not appear to be a matter of race. The Corinth PD handled the situation correctly and responded to the situation in an appropriate matter. What do you think?